Letter to My Little Lady: 5 Weeks Old

Dear Little Fish,

Tomorrow you will be five weeks old! Holy snap, you’re growing so fast.

Here’s some of the things you can do at five weeks:

  • Look cute
  • Make various noises: most notably, dove coos and pterodactyl caws
  • Open your eyes super-wide and make an “O” shape with your mouth
  • Smack your lips
  • Stretch. Whenever we unwrap your from your swaddle, your dad and I love to watch you squirm around and wake up. We call it “The Lettie Show.” And yes, we are dorks.
  • A super-sly side-eyed glance.

Here’s some of the things you like:

  • Your Miracle Blanket
  • Bicycle legs
  • Singing. Your favorite song is “Amazing Grace.” But you only like it when I sing. Dad, not so much.
  • Dancing. You dig TLC’s “Unpretty” and, much to my chagrin, an array of Phish jams.

Here’s a few random bits about your first five weeks:

  • It took over a month, but you’re finally back up to your birth weight. Congrats, chub!
  • Whenever I’m out in public without you, I feel like shouting to every stranger I pass, “Hey, I have a baby! A baby, can you believe it? A real, live baby!”
  • You now have a circus name, should you ever want to join up: Fetus LaFouche. Yeah, don’t ask.
  • Your dad? I’m pretty sure he’s psyched you’re a girl. When choosing outfits for you, he always picks out the pinkest, most girliest thing he can find. I tend to gravitate towards yellows or greens, but your dad is all about the pink.

So there it is, itty-bitty you at five weeks. Mostly, I just love the crap out of you. Even when you turn into crazy-face, cry-box, inconsolable Coco.


The Side Eye

Of all of the pictures and videos of you I sent your Grandma Peggy, this was her favorite:

A Life Well Lived

I’m writing with a heavy heart to let you know that my mom passed away yesterday morning. My dad was by her side, holding her hand.

How do I feel? Pretty numb. It’s hard to believe that I’m not going to see her again in a month or two. I mean, she’s my mom. She’s always been there. She should always be there.


I’m glad she’s not suffering any more, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated that she never got to meet my little girl.

But like the bib says, her heart belongs to grandma, even though they never met in person.

And it kills me that I wasn’t able to be by her side in her final days. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that I wouldn’t be with her. But my dad said that she was ready and not scared, so I will have to take comfort in that.

To the very last, she kept her sense of humor. The other day she told my aunt that she wanted us to throw a fucking-ass great party. Only she transposed it and accidentally said “an ass-fucking party.”

My mom was many things: go-getter, cat lover, collector of tsotchkes, wife, mother, daughter, sister, potty mouth, pedicure enthusiast, sincere, perpetually right, girly-girl, straight shooter, loyal as they come, beautiful, honest, computer genius, skier, heath nut, partier, lover of bad chardonnay, the best dressed woman on the east coast, full of life, an open book, a fighter, my biggest fan.

You can’t quantify a life, of course. But all of that adds up to one seriously amazing person. And a life well lived.

So what do we do now? We do the only thing we can do. Throw an ass-fucking great party. And celebrate her very wonderful life.

Peg and Chuck 39 years ago. What a dish she was, feathered hat and all!
Mom and my bro at her 60th birthday celebration.

Prayers For Peggy: Reflections On Love And Motherhood

You might have read in my previous post that my mom was back in the hospital again, this time with meningitis. The meningitis is under control, thank God, but my mom hated being in the hospital. She was miserable to the max. So a couple of days ago, she transferred to a hospice facility. I haven’t seen the place, but my mom, dad and brother say that it is wonderful. You can even bring your pets there if you like!

Hospice is a scary word. Once I heard she had transferred there, I did some research, and what I found made me feel better. Hospice is not about giving up hope, but rather it’s about regaining a better quality of life. It’s about being with your family. It’s about comfort and peace and love. My mom indeed seems much happier and much more comfortable there. And that, my friends, is all I could ever wish for my beloved mother: peace, comfort and buckets of love.

I’m going to put myself out there now and share a letter that I wrote to her because it also explores some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having about motherhood.

Dear Mom,

Since I’ve had my daughter, I’ve been thinking about you all the time. I don’t remember a lot from when I was very young, but the one thing that I do remember—strong and clear—is a feeling of overwhelming love for you. I think that’s my first real memory—not a place or a time, but a feeling of love for you. I was a true mama’s girl, as I’m sure you recall. I remember wanting to touch you and hug you and just generally wanting to be around you as much as possible. It occurred to me the other day that, before Tim, you were the original love of my life. Most people only associate that phrase with romantic love, but I think that’s silly. I am lucky enough to have three loves of my life: first there was you, then Tim and now there’s Colette. But you were first and I wanted you to know that.


This letter, of course, became the family joke, with my dad and siblings crying that they “didn’t even make the list.” And to that I say, whatever, peeps. I gots plenty o’ love to go around.

I would be extremely grateful if you all could keep my mother in your thoughts and prayers. If you could send as much goodness as you can spare her way.

I love you like crazy, mom. I love you to the sky and back, and even further still. I love you all the way to the stars and the moon and into the furthest reaches of the ever-expanding universe. There is nowhere you can go where my love cannot reach you.

Breast Is…Best?

As I’m sure you gathered from the title, this post is about breastfeeding. If that’s not your bag, by all means, skip it!

Before Colette was born, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding. But I swore that if it didn’t work for me, I wouldn’t get crazy about it and I would stop. I didn’t understand why mothers agonized over it.

Until I became one of those mothers. I am breastfeeding and it is not going well. And it’s making me kind of insane. But the thought of stopping is also making me kind of insane. Actually, the thought of stopping is kind of heartbreaking. I worry that I won’t have a connection with my daughter anymore. I’ve heard that weaning can be “traumatic” for a baby. Baby trauma? Oh, sign me right up. Just what every mother wants to hear, right? One site described weaning as “the long goodbye.” Um, that makes me really sad. I don’t feel ready to stop, but I’m not sure how much more my psyche can take.

Here’s the deal. Breastfeeding in the hospital seemed to go fine. The lactation consultant there told me my latch looked great. But once Colette got home, she fell asleep after five seconds. But still, I thought everything was ok…until I went to the pediatrician and she had lost over 10% of her body weight. And then the next time we went back she had lost even more. The doctor evaluated her and said her sucking reflex wasn’t developed and basically she wasn’t able to get much milk out. The effort was too much for her and that’s why she was falling asleep.

We saw a lactation consultant. She said the same thing. The doctor and the consultant agreed that her frenulum (membrane under her tongue) might be too tight. So we had that snipped. They said it could take up to four weeks to see any signs of improvement from the procedure.

We have to do daily exercises to keep the frenulum from growing back. We also do “suck training” exercises several times a day.

On top of that, I’ve been pumping every three hours after every feeding to maintain my milk supply. While I’m pumping, Tim gives her a bottle of expressed milk and, if I don’t pump enough milk, some formula.

I can handle these things, especially since Colette seemed to be improving a lot over the last week. But then I started getting plugged ducts every 48 hours, which my lactation consultant said is definitely not normal. And then I got mastitis (breast infection). So that means antibiotics and a several-times-a-day dose of acidophilus to try and avoid getting thrush. And hot compresses every time I nurse to try and loosen the clogs. And lecithin supplements twice a day to try and prevent the clogs from returning. And now my skin is irritated from all the pumping, so I’m pretty much in pain all the time.

I saw a lactation consultant for the second time yesterday. She said Colette was still gaining weight too slowly, so we have to increase her supplement. All well and good. My baby needs to be healthy and gain weight. But now that we’ve increased her supplement, she’s not as hungry, so any improvement we’ve gained in the nursing department has tanked. She’s just not that into nursing because she’s not that hungry before each feeding. I feel like we lost all of the ground I fought so hard to gain.

I know this is not sustainable, especially not after Tim goes back to work in two and a half weeks. But even with all of the craziness, the thought of not breastfeeding anymore kills me. I know no one would judge me if I stopped. But, as always, I am my own worst judge. But there needs to be a balance. Breast milk is undoubtedly best for baby. But a strung-out, half-insane mom is not best for baby.

So, peanut gallery, I would love it if you would share your personal stories. Did you have any breastfeeding struggles that you overcame? Or did you make the switch to formula and, if so, how did you make peace with that decision? I could use some perspective either way.

Note: I’ve been trying to write this post for four days. Kudos to all of those bloggers out there who post regularly with a newborn. Don’t know how you do it.

Letter to My Little Lady: 12 Days Strong

Love-drunk Lettie

Dear Little Fish,

I’ve been looking at your sweet face for 12 days now. It’s true what they say—time goes by at lightning speed. It seems like only 12 minutes ago that I was in labor with you. And now you’ve been here for almost two weeks. This makes me a little sad. I want to take every moment with you and keep it safe in a box. I want to hold onto each one. I can’t wait to watch you grow, but I want to slow it down at the same time.

In your short time in this world, a lot has happened. Your grandma Peggy became ill with meningitis and had to go back into the hospital. We are all praying for her and sending love her way. You’ve been having trouble eating and you lost too much weight. Your dad and I have learned the true meaning of sleep deprivation. My hormones are crazy and I’ve been crying, um, all the time. Your first twelve days have been nothing short of a roller coaster.

But here’s the thing. When you and I are sitting quietly together and I’m holding you close, I can’t think of anything better. Not one single thing. I feel completely full-up, like my whole life has been leading up to these moments. Finally, you are here. Finally, I can kiss your face and your fingers as much as I want. Finally, you are mine.

I love you so much, Colette. All the way to the sky and back.